Vegas Tourist Threatens Lawsuit After Crap Tattoo from Unlicensed, Possibly High, Artist

Posted on: May 8, 2024, 04:40h. 

Last updated on: May 9, 2024, 09:49h.

A Las Vegas tourist said she plans to sue a tattoo shop that allowed an artist to work on her without a valid license.

The business license for Illuminati Tattoo, located just off the Strip, is currently listed as revoked. (Image: Instagram)

The tourist, a woman from British Columbia, Canada who identified herself only as Melissa, contacted KLAS-TV/Las Vegas with her story. In April, she told the TV station, she visited Illuminati Tattoo with her son for his 17th birthday, after checking the studio’s overwhelmingly positive Yelp reviews.

As you can see, the resulting tattoo bore little resemblance to the drawing Melissa chose. (Image: Melissa via KLAS-TV/Las Vegas)

Ink Again

While her son’s tattoo was a success, Melissa’s was a nightmare. She said her artist struggled with the task, at times using no ink and taking off his gloves, and didn’t clean her thigh before tattooing it. In addition, Melissa claimed, he was “sweating profusely, his eyes were dilated, (and) he was slurring his words.”

“It was about halfway through when I looked at my son and his face, he just had a bit of a confused look on his face,” she told KLAS. “At that point, I saw him take his phone out and start videoing.”

After Melissa left the shop, she said, she received text messages from the tattoo artist.

“I’m sorry it went this far,” one read. In another, the artist asked her to call the owner, David LePenske, “and tell him you won’t ruin him.”

According to Melissa, LePenske later agreed to pay for tattoo laser removal and made a shocking admission.

“He responded that this was his longtime friend, that he had been a drug addict in the past, but had been clean for eight months, so he decided to give him a chance,” Mellissa told KLAS.

After filing a complaint with the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD), inspectors found that the artist didn’t have an active body art card and didn’t ask Melissa to sign a consent form, both of which are required for tattoo work.

A SNHD document obtained by KLAS indicated that the artist is no longer employed by the shop, noting a “zero tolerance for substance use while on duty.” An inspection also turned up other violations, including missing expiration dates on sterilized equipment.

In April, the secretary of state’s office listed Illuminati Tattoo’s business license in default for failing to renew its state business license for 2023 and 2024. By May, the business license was listed as revoked.

“I just regret the whole ordeal,” Melissa told KLAS. “You think coming to Vegas, there’s supposed to be some of the best tattoo artists in the world in your city, and it’s supposed to be one of the best places in the world to get a tattoo.”